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Sheriff reflects on dangers of job on Police Officers Memorial Day

Today’s the day to think about a group of people sometimes overlooked – the public servants known as police officers.

Tuesday, May 15, 2001

Today’s the day to think about a group of people sometimes overlooked – the public servants known as police officers.

May 15, nationally recognized as Police Officers Memorial Day, exists to remind Americans around the country about the service and sacrifice of their law enforcement professionals, said Lawrence County Sheriff Tim Sexton.

"In a police officer’s job, there are many roles to be played, from investigative officer to counselor, animal control officer to referee, riot control officer to a victim advocate," Sexton said. "However, all of the duties have one thing in common – constant danger."

In fact, more than 150 officers’ names will soon be inscribed into the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. At an average age of 39 years old, those 150 officers all lost their lives just last year. On May 10, the state honored its fallen officers at the Ohio Peace Officer Memorial Ceremony in London.

Police work is dangerous, and officers are killed because someone chose to commit the act – there are no rights to be read, no lawyer and no chance for an appeal, Sexton said.

"Police deaths remind us of how dangerous police work is and how good the rest of us have it," he said. "Have a problem? Dial 911. The cops will be right there."

Although it seems many Americans see the police profession as a mystery, likely because they have little dealings with them or believe the sensational portrayals by the entertainment industry and media, law enforcement officers are public servants working under the most dangerous and adverse conditions one can imagine, the sheriff said.

"It is not the wealth one wishes to achieve as a police officer, for it does not exist. But rather law enforcement officers choose the career because they care, they want to make a difference," Sexton said.

"As the sheriff of Lawrence County, and a 20-year law enforcement veteran, I want to express my thanks to the corrections officers, local police officers, troopers and deputies who every day put their lives on the line for the citizens of our county.

"The next time you see an officer, stop and thank them for the job they perform and the safety they may provide to you."